Tuesday

4th Oct 2022

Secret deal between EU-3 blocks Blair as EU president

  • According to media reports, Germany's Angela Merkel is not backing Tony Blair to become the new EU president (Photo: European Community, 2006)

UK prime minister Gordon Brown has agreed to a secret deal with Germany and France which effectively rules out Tony Blair as a new EU president but the British ex-leader is also interested in the new role of Europe's foreign chief, a UK daily is reporting.

"We have agreed with France and Germany not to back a candidate one of the others doesn't want," a British diplomat is quoted saying by the Independent.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

French President Nicolas Sarkozy previously backed Mr Blair as a possible candidate to head the EU's 27 member states while Mr Brown praised his potential qualities for the job but did not specifically back him.

At the same time, German chancellor Angela Merkel is reportedly opposed to such a scenario, which means that - under a new deal referred to by the British diplomat in the article – her opposition would automatically spoil Mr Blair's chances of being supported by any of Europe's three biggest countries.

Apart from Tony Blair, the other candidate mentioned most often and thought to enjoy backing by Berlin and Paris is Luxembourg's prime minister and veteran of the EU stage, Jean-Claude Juncker.

The position of the EU's president is contained in the bloc's Lisbon Treaty under the official heading of President of the European Council. The European Council refers to the regular meetings of EU leaders.

Talks have begun on what kind of salary, personnel and other perks the president should have.

But the actual job description of the EU president – a job that can be held for up to five years - still has yet to be decided. While his or her appointment would replace the current practice whereby the bloc is headed by a different EU leader every six months, it is unclear whether the role will be merely administrative or something more powerful.

In chairing the 27-nation bloc, the EU president would work together with another post created by the Lisbon Treaty, the EU foreign minister.

The new post will merge together the chair of Javier Solana as the EU's current foreign policy chief and that of Benita Ferrero-Waldner, the current European commissioner for external relations.

According to the Independent, Tony Blair may also be interested in becoming the new EU foreign minister.

The Lisbon Treaty is scheduled to come into force on 1 January 2009.

Nine member states have already ratified the treaty, others are planning to hold a parliamentary vote at some stage this year. Only Ireland will decide by a referendum, due on 12 June.

Feature

Why northeast Italy traded in League for Brothers of Italy

EUobserver spoke with several business figures and all confirmed they voted for Georgia Meloni's Brothers of Italy because it promised stability, less bureaucracy and tax cuts. Matteo Salvini's anti-EU rhetoric scared them, while they trust Meloni has "more common sense".

Europe's far-right celebrates Meloni victory

In Warsaw and Budapest, the prime ministers were quick to congratulate the new Italian leader, who — they hope — will back them in their battles with the EU over civil rights, rule of law and democratic backsliding.

EU seeks crisis powers to take control over supply chains

The Single Market Emergency Instrument (SMEI) introduces a staged, step-by-step, approach — providing emergency powers to the EU Commission to tackle any potential threat which could trigger disruptions or shortages of key products within the EU.

Testimony from son rocks trial of ex-Czech PM Babiš

In a fraud trial relating to €2m in EU subsidies, Andrej Babiš son testified his signature on share-transfer agreements was forged. He claims his father transferred the shares to him without his knowledge, making him a front man for scheme.

Podcast

How Europe helped normalise Georgia Meloni

Should Georgia Meloni be considered neofascist? She insists she's a patriotic conservative. And indeed, if she's prime minister, she's expected to respect Italy's democracy — if only to keep money flowing from the EU.

News in Brief

  1. Czechs warn joint-nationality citizens in Russia on mobilisation
  2. Greece to unveil proposal for capping EU gas prices
  3. Four dead, 29 missing, after dinghy found off Canary Islands
  4. Orbán: German €200bn shield is start of 'cannibalism in EU'
  5. Lithuania expels top Russian diplomat
  6. Poland insists on German WW2 reparations
  7. Russia halts gas supplies to Italy
  8. Bulgaria risks hung parliament after inconclusive vote

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. The European Association for Storage of EnergyRegister for the Energy Storage Global Conference, held in Brussels on 11-13 Oct.
  2. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBA lot more needs to be done to better protect construction workers from asbestos
  3. European Committee of the RegionsThe 20th edition of EURegionsWeek is ready to take off. Save your spot in Brussels.
  4. UNESDA - Soft Drinks EuropeCall for EU action – SMEs in the beverage industry call for fairer access to recycled material
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic prime ministers: “We will deepen co-operation on defence”
  6. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBConstruction workers can check wages and working conditions in 36 countries

Latest News

  1. Last-minute legal changes to Bosnian election law stir controversy
  2. EU wants probe into alleged Nagorno-Karabakh war crimes
  3. EU officials were warned of risk over issuing financial warning
  4. EU debates national energy plans amid calls for more coordination
  5. What Modi and Putin’s ‘unbreakable friendship’ means for the EU
  6. EU leaders have until Friday for refugee resettlement pledges
  7. Cities and regions stand with citizens and SMEs ahead of difficult winter
  8. Editor's weekly digest: A week of leaks

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us